Hunting Safely - Safety Beyond the Workplace
Fall protection isn’t just for the workplace.
Hunting season is here. The weather changes, the wind is right, and the air is cold and crisp. You hear the crunch of the frost covered grass under your feet as you walk cautiously to your ideal hunting spot.
Quickly scanning the woods, you ensure that your climb doesn’t disturb any animals that might be close by. You finally reach your destination, some 20’ above the ground perched on your stand in anticipation of the hunt.
Then you wait...
A quiet, dark hour has passed, and the sun is peeking over the horizon when you hear the familiar footsteps behind you. Your heart beats faster as you slowly turn your head to investigate. Your eyes lock on the monster 12 point buck you’ve had your eye on for quite some time now.
He slowly walks the expected path and stops almost directly broadside to you.
This is your chance.
As you begin drawing your bow, he starts walking again, only this time at a slightly faster pace. You lock your sights on him waiting for the perfect chance to shoot. Your body twists to maintain eyesight and leads you into an uncomfortable position.
Having twisted into an awkward position, holding the bow taut, focusing your attention on a distant object, you slip right over the edge and plunge to the forest floor.
Are you prepared to fall from your stand?
As a hunter of 28 years, I have never fallen from my tree. So I know first hand how easy it is to think, "Well it certainly won't happen to me." However, I have heard many stories of debilitating injuries and in some cases death from similar events. And as we say, it only needs to happen once to end your life.
Working as a fall protection specialist in a safety company for the last several years, I have become increasingly more aware of the dangers and risks of being at heights. Though I deal with people working at heights, it is easy and often times necessary to bring that safety mentality home with me.
Anytime you use a ladder, go on your roof, clean out gutters, or in this case, climb a tree stand, having a mindset of safety can undoubtedly save your life.
Nobody plans to fall.
Just a simple change in how you think about safety can dramatically change the outcome of your hunting trip. Selecting a harness and fall protection gear specifically designed for being in a tree stand can keep you from hitting the ground. Falling is fun, it's hitting the ground that hurts.
These harnesses are designed to be worn under your hunting clothes, are very comfortable, and provide freedom of movement.
Let us go back to the stand. There are two possible outcomes to falling from your tree stand.
You fall from the tree, and you hit the ground with a bone-crushing impact. You don’t know what injuries were sustained, but you are in a lot of pain. Fortunately, you were able to call your buddy and you are transported to the hospital.
You are alive, but pretty beat up with a few broken bones which includes your collar bone, inevitably ending the rest of your season. That monster buck was never seen by you again.
You fall from the stand, and immediately the harness and fall protection equipment catch you. You missed the shot and your prized deer trotted off, unharmed and not sure what happened. You are a little shaken but able to climb back into your tree and devise another plan to find that buck again.
Two weeks later, you took your trophy home with a great story to tell.
With the advanced personal protective equipment that is available to us today, you have nothing to lose when implementing safety at home. It could save you a limb or two and hefty medical bills.
Stay safe and enjoy your hunting season.